Redefining our relationship with work

Finding a job that is rewarding and fulfilling is great. But do we expect too much from our work?

As with most things in life, it’s how we look at situations that shape our responses to them. I came across an excerpt recently that offers an interesting perspective on how much we demand from our jobs. In some ways it clashes with some of my thinking about jobs and careers but at the same time I think it makes a lot of sense. In Your Money or Your Life, authors Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin say there is often a:

“…false assumption that what we do to put food on the table and a roof over our heads should also provide us with our sense of meaning, purpose and fulfillment… Our fulfillment as human beings lies not in our jobs but in the whole picture of our lives—in our inner sense of what life is about, our connectedness with others and our yearnings for meaning and purpose.”

I don't think I've ever been as happy at work as this woman is. But maybe that's ok. (could also be that she's drunk)

An interesting perspective that suggests that perhaps we expect too much from our jobs. And by letting go of these expectations, we free ourselves from disappointment. It shifts things from “this job defines me” to “this job enables me”. It enables us to pursue a meaningful and contributive life with our family, friends, community, the world and self.

I’m a big advocate for living a meaningful life with the time we’ve got. And I’m a firm believer that when a job is crushing your soul (and when your job infringes on your ability to have a fulfilling life outside of the workplace), changes need to be made.  But this is a good reminder that although it’s amazing when it happens, having a job that fills you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment isn’t a prerequisite for a meaningful and happy life.

What do you think? Do we demand too much from our jobs? Is this a helpful perspective or do you think this is just an excuse that people can use to justify staying at a job they hate? Leave your comments below!

Related reading and other perspectives


Funny stories. Good advice. Check out my books, “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” and “Balancing Priorities and Prioritizing Balance”. Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.

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One Response to Redefining our relationship with work

  1. Doggomelt Sandwich says:

    What we do in our working life matters. It often comprises more than half our waking life. I’d rather spend my limited time doing something that is in alignment with my values…

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